Law & Order: UK Discussion for Episode 1.3, "Vice" - Jamie Bamber News
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Law & Order: UK Discussion for Episode 1.3, "Vice"

"Vice" written by Chris Chibnall

I must confess, I don't have much to say about "Vice". That's not an indication of what I thought of the quality of the episode. It's just, for me, more so than other episodes, it had a feeling of familiarity to it. I'm not even sure I saw the Law & Order episode upon which "Vice" was adapted, but I had seen this story before, down to the false accusations of rape in order to obtain an acquittal.

I know I mention the terrific guest casting on every post (and will probably continue to do so ;), but here was an instance where a so-so episode (in my humble opinion) was elevated to a solid episode by the supporting players. The actress who played the young prostitute especially stands out. She was particularly good in the interrogation scene with Matt and, once again, we are given more evidence of Matt's own troubled childhood.

One thing I've noticed as the series has progressed, when Matt or Ronnie reveal a bit of themselves in interrogations the suspects seem to believe their understanding is genuine. It's a nice departure from the U.S. version of the series where the detectives sharing is often viewed with great suspicion (and often with good reason).

My absolute favorite moment of the episode involved Natalie's unique reference to Frank's (the victim) penis:

Matt: (Laughing) "You don't really call it a ninky-nonk?"
Natale: "You should hear what I call you."
Matt: (Stops Laughing)

And that's all I have in my notes! I think I may have been a bit warn out by the ongoing (and quite interesting!) discussion involving "Masquerade". So what did all of you think of "Vice"?


12 comments or Leave a comment
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: October 18th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
This one doesn't do much for me. It is interesting though to see the difference between Alesha's reaction to the the rape claim here and more recently. *tries to avoid future spoilers*
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 18th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I was really struggling with something to say on this one. I either only have I lot to say when I love something or hate it. I was very verbose with BSG every...single...week. ;)
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: October 18th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I'm still very verbose about BSG. Pretty much all the time.
lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 18th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I'm fair certain I have no other mode than verbose, whether I like something, don't, or are just ambivalent.

As it happens, this was the 2nd episode I saw, and so I was quite delighted with it, since I was so excited about L&O|UK.

Before I ramble though, is it OK to talk about deleted scenes? Because this episode had some very extended ones.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 18th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Deleted scenes can be discussed. Just make it clear they're deleted so people don't think BBC American butchered the episode too badly. ;)
lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 18th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
OK, one quick tidbit, more later. The whole 'snap' slang was something this dumb American wasn't getting at all. It appears in a deleted scene in "Unloved" but again here when Mattie is talking to Niamh, in that wonderful, wonderful interrogation scene in "Vice":

Matt: "I got family. Distant family. Mad family, actually. Don't see them much, thank God. Your parents know you're here?"
Niamh: "My mum's dead. My dad's a bastard."
Matt: "Snap. We're related do you think?"

So 'snap' is he sympathizing, agreeing, what does that mean exactly? It didn't seem, from the context, to be anything like what 'snap' means in American slang, sort of a snarky agreement or general exclamation or salute to a good insult. Well it's pretty specific, and I tracked it down today, from

"Snap - This is the name of a card game where the players turn cards at the same time and shout 'snap' when they match. People also say 'snap' when something someone else says has happened to them too. For example when I told somebody that my wallet was stolen on holiday, they said 'snap', meaning that theirs had too!"

So this makes it seem pretty definitive that Mattie's mum is dead, and his dad isn't and abused him. Which I had assumed from this exchange anyway, but I feel better knowing that 'snap' was supposed to be a very firm sort of confirmation.

And also, Jamie's eyes, his pacing, his breathing, the way he catches just for a second after 'snap' with this heartbreaking little smile as Matt goes back to that place of pain... it's just a lovely performance that does not suffer at all for being watch five times in a row just to make sure I have the dialogue right (ok, the last two were just to watch Jamie's face).
(Deleted comment)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 19th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC) (Link Me)
And then the lab tech calls it a "wangdoodle" and I fell over laughing.

It's the blasé line reading that makes it so funny. "Wangdoodle. Oh, yeah." Teddy, I love you man! Tariq Jordan is frakking adorable. (Ronnie's reaction to the lipstick bit is pretty funny, too. "Classy girl he had on his crotch." XD)
lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 19th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC) (Link Me)

In which I am verbose enough for everyone.....

This episode had one of the more complex investigations, in my opinion. There's a lot of back and forth, and changing of what people think happened, who the audience should have sympathy with. And then the trial ends up being more dynamic than some as well, with some pretty tough cross examinations. There are a couple odd off notes here and there, that feel like "new show" issues, telling a bit when showing would be better. But overall, I'd love to have an episode like this in series three, that's intense but not specifically personal to our heroes, with complex copper and court twists and turns.

A special shout out to Sean Pertwee, the paintball boss. He's always lovely, he always brings a feeling of such complexity and reality, even with just a few lines like he has here. (And if you haven't seen Cadfael, see it! But while the other chaps are fine, Sean is the -only- Hugh Beringer.)

I thought the two actors playing the 'prozzies' were also really excellent. Believable, complex, sympathetic, but not so much that the end felt unsatisfying. And attractive, but in the way of older women and mothers who take care of themselves, not movie stars.

The defense attorney is wonderful. Evil, but wonderful. Separate post later to discuss the rape issue, which we see for the first time here, and is actually quite interesting in light of later episodes. Some of the best stuff ended up lost in deleted scenes.

Keeping an eye on the Law/Order split, no sign of Order until 26 minutes, then we hardly see Law, except for, of all things, a fairly intense Natalie interrogation scene without any boys in sight.

Some favorite scenes:
Even prostitutes hit on Mattie: "Bit buff for a copper, you, aren't you?" Ronnie: "Do you mind love, his head's big enough already without you adding to it."

Ang being all glowy, after Mattie compliments her work with that extra long glance. He has to know what he's doing to the girl... but maybe he's used to it because he turns everyone squishy.

Mattie revealing his metrosexual attention to things like interior design: "Sparse little gaff in Wood Green, classic divorced bloke, on his own, totally unhomely and depressing." Ronnie: "Not all divorced blokes live like that." Mattie: "Says Mister frayed carpet in the corner of his lounge." Ron: "The people before me had a cat." Mattie's little smirk at winding him up (I'm trying to master the British lingo) was too cute.

Mattie being tactless enough to ask about a taste for prostitutes at a guy's wake. I love the guy, but he's sort of relentless! He's sort of lucky the old guy was mellow about it. Speaking of, the old guy was describing Frank as the kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, falls in love four times a day, and wants to fix or save everyone. It's not quite Mattie, but... there's hints of it. I guess Mattie isn't in Vice, but it did make me wonder whether he'd served in a different division before MIU but after getting out of uniform.

The late night paperwork scene was a bit moving, just a nice little copper moment of Mattie being tired and Ronnie reminding him to keep his eye on the ball. Plus Mattie looked scrumptious in his rumpled shirt, hands on hips, and medallion peeking out. Even spotted the wrist strap thing. What is that?

A very dry bit of humor with the dispirited Clearing House employee Kieran. Especially in contrast to Matt bitching the night before about having to spend his nights doing paperwork with Ron.

Mom!Natalie "Feet off the table."

My hands down favorite line of the entire Series 1: "Bloody hell. I get a rod-on like Nelson's Column just thinking about her."
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 19th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC) (Link Me)

Re: In which I am verbose enough for everyone.....

You hit in pretty much all the reasons why I like this episode so much more than I would otherwise, namely all the dialogue and character bits down at MIU which elevate it a little bit above the pretty straightforward progression of the case which the others have noted above. As a COPPERS! fan, my bias clings to all of that stuff and I find myself getting more out of it than I... should? I dunno. Plot-wise it's not one of my faves, but there's still so much to enjoy.

Big Pertwee fan, too, so I loved seeing him on the show. As well as Juliet Aubry (Emma Sandbrook), who I've liked ever since Still Crazy which is for my money still one of the most underrated UK comedies in recent years. I know she's got a big role on Primeval, too, though I still have yet to sit down and watch that show. Anyway, I read some reactions online after the BBCA airing that found her too cold an unemotional in the role up to the point where she breaks down at the end, and I thought about that and had to wonder... isn't that the point? She's projecting a controlled, cool exterior because she thinks if she gives the impression that she isn't flustered by the ordeal, it will exonerate her... wrongly, as it turns out, most of the time the detectives and the CPS only question her motives further because she's flatly denying everything and even attempting to remain prim and composed when she's "confessing."

The defense attorney is wonderful. Evil, but wonderful.

Soooo evil. That's Lesley Manville (The actress... used to be married to Gary Oldman and has a kid with him. Fact!), and her character turns up again in "Alesha." I think she's probably Suspect #1 in the debate about whether or not the female defense briefs are often portrayed as the most self-serving and revile-able on the show, but we can get into that debate later once more of them have turned up. (I think it's a lot more complex a debate than that.)

I guess Mattie isn't in Vice, but it did make me wonder whether he'd served in a different division before MIU but after getting out of uniform.

I guess it's possible he worked in another division before coming to Homicide, but I always assumed he went straight there once he joined CID. The rapport he has with Ronnie, something about it makes me feel like he's the first partner Matt's had as a detective.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 19th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Oh, one more favorite line for the road...

Matt: "Could be a drugs front! Dealing coke to the middle classes of southwest London."
Ronnie: *glare*
Matt: "Nah."

cleefa From: cleefa Date: October 20th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Is that a Tardis on her desk?
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 21st, 2010 03:30 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I had that same thought. Then it dawned on me there were actually police phone boxes before there was a Tardis. (But I secretly want Natalie to be a Who fan. ;)
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